Response to the article. “The Philosophy of American Empowerment”:
Empowering Fahmi Hawidi
آحمد صبحي منصور
الإثنين 07 اغسطس 2006
en, against these reformers and jeopardizes them by inciting against these peaceable thinkers who possess neither power nor might.
4 – He then speaks of what he calls the building up and exercising of American strength which aims at world domination. It is not improper or wrong for any nation to seek to build up its strength, and seek empowerment, but what is improper is that any nation be in the extreme state of failure that we are in.
America today is the greatest power in the world and it is certainly not improper for her to seek to preserve her position. Indeed many have preceded her as the leading power in the world including the empires of the Pharaohs, the Persians, the Romans, the Arabs and the British, and no one has ever said that that building up of power is wrong in itself. We still take pride in the Arab power exercised in the time of the Ummawy, the Abbasy and the Ottoman empires. Impropriety arises when such strength is used to enslave others as happened with every one of the empires previous to America, including that of the Muslim Arabs.
America, when she became the greatest power in the world, did not do the things committed by the previous empires, such as colonization and enslavement. Prior to that America lived in isolation in accordance with the principles laid down in the Monroe Doctrine, well away from the internecine wars of Europe over colonies. She then entered the two world wars in defense of democracy, then she entered into a cold war with the Soviet Union also in defense of democracy and freedom.
Then Soviet Union collapsed and the traditionalist trend appeared as an enemy of freedom, inventing a new kind of destructive ideological warfare. This new warfare started by attacking America in the safety of her home thus forcing her into waging a war against a ubiquitous and invisible enemy that is difficult to spot or define. In the course of her defense of democracy, America backed the peoples under Nazi despotism (in Europe) and Japanese despotism (in East Asia), and those under Soviet or communist totalitarianism (Eastern Europe, South Korea, South Vietnam and Afghanistan). She liberated Kuwait from occupation by Saddam, then she went on to liberate the Iraqi people from him. Now she is calling upon the Arab dictators to effect political reforms and to institute democracy peacefully thus avoiding civil wars and foreign intervention. She officially declares that she will not impose democracy from the outside upon the Arabs. But Arab despotism refuses reform by peaceful means from the inside. We find Fahmi Haweedi resenting America this, her beneficial intervention for reform, and considers it one of the requirements for empowerment.
5 – It is natural that in America's wars of liberation excesses will occur. War is always the worst choice even if it is in the cause of liberation from colonialism and dictatorship. The democracy that came, paid for with American blood all the way from France and Europe to the Philippines, South Korea and Afghanistan and Iraq with the help of God Almighty, justifies any excess that might have occurred. Moreover, it is American Liberalism itself which stands up to any excesses Americans might fall into. It is this self same American Liberalism which aroused the American conscience to the problem of Vietnam. As a result, America was forced to withdraw from the region leaving the field open to the communist Khmer Rouge to kill millions of inhabitants in a communal extermination the like of which the Twentieth Century did not witness.
6 – Moreover, American Society is in no need of admonishment from a preacher of the type of Fahmy Haweedi or anyone else. Among America's most cherished values is the virtue of admitting error and apologizing publicly for it. Not only that, but they also teach it to their children, in the school curricula, that they might learn from the errors of their forefathers. American children live with a guilt complex towards the Blacks and the Native Americans, and all this while we still prohibit the discussion of The Great Civil War, which pitted the Companions of the Prophet against each other, so that the Companions might remain above the level of human beings and thus free of human error. Thus do Americans learn from their mistakes while we, on the other hand, blunder on in the dark depths of The Great Conspiracy to this day.
7 – Haweedi reports the plans, that some American specialists propose, for the restructuring of the Middle East on a democratic basis, considering them part of the conspiracy despite the fact that these are published and available to all. America is doing her best, openly, to convince the Arabs of this democratic, peaceful change. The Arab dictators, on the other hand, delay implementing democracy while, at the same time, trying to placate America in every way that, perchance, she might overlook the democratic choice.
8 – It is strange that Haweedi should consider America's efforts to bring democracy to the Middle East as among the basics for empowerment of America in the region. It is well known that it is easy for America to control the single, individual dictator; that is exactly what is happening right now with the twenty something individuals who rule the Arab World. It would be impossible for America to control a democratic nation, ruled by its citizens in a truly democratic fashion. How is she able to control all the Arab countries if they were democratic? America has chosen democracy to solve the problem of terrorism which threatens her on her soil. Totalitarianism goes hand in hand with corruption, and these two, together, produce a resentful, frustrated generation incapable of fighting dictatorship at home where suppression by the police is strongest. This frustrated generation then seeks migration to the West where they express their pent-up anger against the “Infidel West”. It is thus necessary to reform the Arabs in order that the West might live in peace and tranquility. But Brother Haweedi, who has dedicated his pen to the defense of dictatorship, extremism and fanaticism, resents America her efforts to bring about democratic reform, and considers them empowering America in the world.
9 – The fact is that Haweedi has acquired “empowerment” unto himself. Over the span of thirty years, writing every week, in the service of extremism and dictatorship and being referred to by some as an “Islamic thinker” even though he has never come up with a single new idea to add to the fund of Islamic or, for that matter, political thought. On the contrary, the Arabs, over the last thirty years, thanks to the likes of him, and to dictatorship, corruption and extremism, have reached rock bottom. Haweedi dedicated his pen to attacking America and the West, and to defending fanaticism and terrorism, while remaining silent on dictatorship, corruption and torture, and falsely directing anger, depression and hatred at the West and America, instead of at the real enemy who is the dictator and the purveyors of corruption all around him.
10 – Nasser suspended freedom, purportedly to realize social justice and make the state responsible for providing a decent life for the citizen; he promoted the slogan “No voice above that of the struggle”. Then came Sadat and made peace with Israel. There was thus no excuse to delay freedom and democracy, he then granted slivers of it then reneged and lost his life. Then Husni Mubaarak came along with the emergency law, the sequestration of freedom and social justice and the suspension of the individual's right to a job and a decent life. He monopolized power and wealth and drove Egypt to the lowest levels. Now he is trying to establish succession to guarantee immunity for himself and his descendants from accountability for what he embezzled of Egypt's wealth. Mubaarak is still in power for the following reasons:
(a) - He gave fundamentalism a chance to dominate the people's minds religiously and culturally thus rendering it the sole alternative to military rule. He then exploited this very fundamentalism to frighten the people, as though he says, “Who is preferable, the fundamentalists or me?” After peace with Israel and the demise of the excuse of the foreign Israeli enemy, or the foreign military front, Mubaarak started to cultivate the monster of fundamentalism up to a certain point where he can use it to scare others, but where it cannot jeopardize his military regime, and to turn Egypt into an internal military front that would permit him to rule autocratically with the emergency law.
(b) – Naturally, anger, resentment and frustration with him will increase; equally naturally, Mubaarak will try to deflect such resentment and anger and find release for them away from him. It was thus necessary to direct that resentment, anger and frustration at America and Israel in view of the latter being the major conspiratorial enemy of the Arabs and the Muslims although the true enemy of the people is the dictator and his supporters. By controlling the media and education, the Azhar and the mosques, he was able to brainwash the youth and redirect their hatred at America and Israel instead of it being directed at himself. That is the reason why hatred of America, in the streets of Egypt approaches hysterical levels, despite the fact that America granted Mubaarak over the last 24 years 96 billion dollars in “US Aid”. Would Haweedi dare discuss with Mubaarak where these funds and the proceeds of sale of the public sector went? (c) – Mubaarak used the systems of repression, the media and religion in his hounding of the reformers, assassinating their characters and defaming them in order to denude Egypt of honorable, truly democratic symbols, so that the only opposition left is a weak one subservient to the regime and incapable of confronting it.
One last question remains! Where does Haweedi stand with regards to this policy?
The answer, very briefly, is that he is the government's well placed agent writer who plays, for the benefit of the regime, in an area of extreme sensitivity, namely fundamentalist extremism. He plays for the benefit of the fundamentalists as long as that does not harm the regime. He plays for the benefit of both against reform, by relentlessly hounding the reformers. And as to corruption, dictatorship, fanaticism, torture, injustice, the illegal bequest of power, the unlawful extension of incumbency, embezzlement and theft, he looks the other way, conveniently forgetting the demonstrations calling for reform that move the streets. That is the reason for “empowering” Haweedi, in Al-Ahram, for more than thirty years. In order to preserve this empowerment, Haweedi is not disturbed by the hysterical screams of the victims of torture in the hell of Egyptian prisons. Among these victims are thousands of Muslim Brothers, or, his Muslim brothers.